6 Holiday Foods You Can Eat Guilt-Free
Thinking of holiday foods has us drooling! People see holiday foods as an indulgence, but not all of them are unhealthy. Let’s break down the good and bad of your favorite holiday foods.
Green Bean Casserole. Green beans, onions, and mushrooms are considered healthy. Green beans are a great source of Vitamins C, A, K, as well as magnesium and potassium. The onions provide Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and manganese. The mushrooms have riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. The milk and butter in this dish may not be the healthiest, but you can always cut down on the butter or substitute whole milk with skim milk or almond milk.
Sweet Potatoes. The orange sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A. These root vegetables also have potassium and Vitamin C. Some recipes include marshmallow on top, but if you’re looking for a healthier alternative, candied pecans are just as delicious.
Roasted Carrots. There’s not much to add to this dish other than carrots, a little oil, and maybe some honey drizzled on top. Carrots are high in beta-carotene, which your body needs for a healthy immune system.
Stuffing. While there are lots of versions of stuffing, most recipes consist of bread, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, and lots of butter. The bread is, well, pure carbs. The celery is a low-calorie, high water content vegetable with sodium, potassium, and magnesium. A healthier alternative to stuffing would be to take out some of the bread and add some cooked quinoa for added protein, fiber, iron, thiamin, and Vitamin B6.
Mashed Potatoes. Oh, the mighty potato. No matter how you cook it, it’s delicious. This versatile root vegetable has Vitamins B6, C, and potassium. If you’re worried about fat, the potato by itself has no fat. It’s the butter and milk that you add to the mashed potato that would impact the dish. Perhaps substitute the milk for plant-based milk? (Oat milk is the creamiest!)
Pumpkin Pie. What makes a good pumpkin pie? A flaky, buttery crust, the right amount of sweetness, and a smooth pumpkin filling, right? Pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber, high in Vitamins A, C, E, and riboflavin. If you are worried about the sugar levels in the recipe, you can decrease the sugar and add a few more dashes of spices. Sweet spices like cinnamon will help bring out the natural sweetness of the pumpkin.
Most holiday food recipes consist of butter (lots of it), and the desserts are full of sugar and fat. If you manage to lower the sugar and fat contents, you can enjoy the vitamins and minerals in these foods guilt-free.
There are substitutions to most ingredients so there’s a chance of making the “unhealthy” ingredients slightly healthier. Indulging a bit is okay. As always, the key is moderation. And if you eat too much, try these tips.